TRACK, MODELS, UPDATES: Fred expected to be tropical storm off Florida this weekend

Weather system currently tropical depression

ORLANDO, Fla.Tropical Depression Fred continues to produce heavy rainfall across portions of Central Cuba Friday, ahead of its projected track toward Florida this weekend, forecasters said.

[VIDEO ABOVE: Projected path, cone, computer models, satellite, more]

Fred’s center was about 150 miles south-southeast of Key West, heading west-northwest at 12 mph, with sustained winds of 35 mph. As of 8 p.m., Central Florida was out of Fred’s cone. Isolated impacts from Fred could be expected over the weekend and Central Florida could see heavy rain push in late Saturday.

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The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Fred was dropping heavy rain over parts of Cuba, where the main threats were rain and flooding. A tropical storm warning was issued Friday morning for the Florida Keys and Florida Bay, and a watch was in place for southwest Florida.

The hurricane center said 3 to 7 inches of rain were expected across the Florida Keys and southern peninsula by Monday, with isolated maximums of 10 inches.

[VIDEO BELOW: Live loop of Central Florida radar]

Once a tropical storm, Fred weakened back to a depression by its spin over Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power to some 400,000 customers and caused flooding that forced officials to shut down part of the country’s aqueduct system, interrupting water service for hundreds of thousands of people. Local officials reported hundreds of people were evacuated and some buildings were damaged.

The system was expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain across the Dominican Republic and the western Bahamas, as well as 1 to 3 inches over Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, the eastern Bahamas, and Cuba.

Fred became the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday as it moved past the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

[RELATED: List of storm names for 2021 hurricane season]

The next named storms will be called Grace and Henri.

Hurricane season runs through November.

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About the Authors:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.